Seattle based all male strip dance troupe The Buckaroos are the stars of their own new documentary film, “The Long Haul” ! Photo: Bruce Dugdale
For two years, director Amy Enser and a Seattle film crew, including producer Basil Shadid (Drag Becomes Him, R/Evolve, Heart Breaks Open), set out to create a film about the Buckaroos, a live male revue. On June 18, that film, along with a live performance by the Buckaroos will come to the Northwest Film Forum for a limited performance.
The film is called The Long Haul. It’s being described as “Magic Mike” meets “The Full Monty”. The experimental documentary features six “average joes” as they reinvent the limited male revue staples such as Chippendales and Thunder from Down Under.
The interactive screening is a unique theatrical cowboy western variety show that’s seen on-screen and in person.
Beneath the cowboy hats and bedazzled thongs, the documentary explores themes of masculinity and sexuality through the vulnerabilities of each Buckaroo.
Here are five questions with Amy Enser, the director of The Long Haul.
SGS: What’s this movie about, other than men taking their clothes off?
Amy Enser:The Long Haul follows an unlikely group of “average joes” whom through different circumstances find themselves in a comedic male revue troupe called the Buckaroos. The film has a lot of spectacle for sure, but the story is really about these 6 guys and what being in this group has done for them. Whether it be finding community, gaining self-confidence, getting out of their comfort zones.. it’s a very fulfilling experience for all of them and something they haven’t found anywhere else. They quite likely wouldn’t all be friends, either, if this troupe hadn’t brought them together. I think a lot of people can relate or be inspired by stories like this. And like any good narrative, there’s some twists and turns along the way. It’s not all fun and frivolity.
SGS: Who are the Buckaroos?
Amy Enser: The Buckaroos is a cowboy western variety show created by Can Can Productions. It was the brainchild of Can Can owner Chris “Pink” and partner Jon Betchtel who plays “Bronco” in the group. It was created to fill a void in their entertainment world, primarily to target the bachelorette demographic. Can Can has always had mixed male/female shows and put fun twists on the traditional burlesque scene, but there was a real lack of female-centric entertainment. So the Buckaroos were created as a fresh take on the classic Chippendales or Thunder from Down Under to give women an opportunity to express their sexuality. I don’t think they realized how appealing it would be to both straight and gay men, as well, which is incredibly fun to see. The Buckaroos perform every summer during National Day of the Cowboy, roughly July 24th & 25th, at The Triple Door theater in downtown Seattle.
SGS: How did you get involved in making a film about male strippers?
Amy Enser: I never set out to make a film like this. I had been working at a production studio for many years and didn’t have time for a lot of passion projects, but a good friend and colleague, Jonathan Houser, would always pitch me documentary ideas. It was early summer 2014 and we had been working together a lot at the time, he’s a cinematographer, and said he had a great idea for a documentary…about himself.. [laughing] …and these other guys who take their clothes off. I thought he was joking at first, but he kept pressing. He eventually wore me down and I showed up to check them out. I am definitely a part of their target demographic and it was an easy sell, but I really thought [Jon] Houser and I were making this film together. I quickly learned that I was on my own and it was too intriguing and absurd that I just thought, ok..I guess I’m making a male stripper movie. It’s been a whole lot of fun and a unique experience of my own to essentially be the only woman in this very masculine world.
Bronco’s Rubber Ducky.
SGS: What’s your favorite scene in the film?
Amy Enser: Oh, gosh.. it’s really difficult to choose a favorite scene, there really are so many good ones. It’s like having to choose a favorite character out of the bunch, but there is one scene that I find particularly clever involving a wardrobe malfunction and a rubber ducky thong. There is a number they do to Little Richard’s version of “Rubber Ducky” and they slide across the stage on a Slip N Slide in these rubber duck thongs and nothing else. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say you get really familiar with one of the ducks. It almost becomes somewhat of a character..[laughing]
SGS: What is going to happen at the live interactive event?
Amy Enser:The Long Haul: Live is actually a beta test screening of the film that will include live performance by the Buckaroos throughout the screening. I’m testing the viability of a modern “Rocky Horror Picture Show” experience, and the film will exist in three versions— as a standalone documentary, a full interactive roadshow film with the Bucks, and as sort of a hybrid where people can create their own interactive experiences. I’ve developed swag bags that people can draw on to interact with the film and there are opportunities for people to clap along, cheer and “make it rain” with Buck bucks. The live show on June 18th at the Northwest Film Forum is a test to see how people respond before I officially finish the film. It will definitely be a unique opportunity to take part in the development of the film while experiencing a mini Buckaroos show, similar to their Triple Door shows. Beforehand there will be sex trivia hosted by Babeland, photo opportunities with the Buckaroos, mimosas and cupcakes available from Cupcake Royale. The show will include everything from oiling to confetti canons, disco ball and projection mapping on the theater walls, live singing… there hasn’t been anything quite like this at the Film Forum, it will be memorable for sure.
Check out the event on Saturday, June 18 at 1pm at the Northwest Film Forum.